The second alarm was set for this morning … the later one … the one that goes off at 4:45 instead of 4:00. Before my alarm went off, I heard at least three others, including Husband’s, Abby’s, and my watch that was sitting on the bathroom counter. It had gone off twice.
So, I was awake, just waiting for the regular one.
Before you all freak about how early I wake up, remember that I am that person that once Jeopardy goes off in the evening (8pm), my eyes start to get droopy. I am constantly teased by my friends in the neighborhood because I cannot stay awake. Girls Night Out, if I even go, means I have to drive myself so that I can leave when I want to. My worst nightmare is to be stuck somewhere when all I really want to do is go home, take a hot bath to rid myself of the day and crawl into bed.
We had a fairly full kitchen this morning. Husband was awake to go to Adoration. Abby and Mollie were up eating, their ride set to arrive by 5:25. Lucy and Emma were up eating and having coffee also, as it is their habit is to be at the YMCA by 6am so they can be back home by 7:30, ready to eat again and get to the pool by 7:50, younger siblings buckled in the backseat.
Ah, the life of the swimmer, and the swimming family.
It has always been my practice to play music in the morning. Music is such a part of who I am, that I am able to listen to it, noting everything about it, the key, the rhythms, the resonance and dissonance that I can feel it and its impact without it stopping my forward progression of whatever it is that I am doing. Reading, writing, sleeping.
Obviously, different genres have different influences on the atmosphere which is why I usually rely on the New Age stuff to set the mood in the morning. I have found that calm music makes calm kids. It has become something that they don’t really notice, a simple background score to our busy lives, but it really does help. Minimal lights help also.
When I was in high school and I had to wake up to get to school, shower, makeup, hair (hey, it was the 80s), I would stumble out of bed at 6am and shower in the dark because I didn’t want the harsh light of the incandescents burning my retinas and illuminating the realities of the day. Calculus, AP English. High school in general. By the time the shower was over, the warm bluish-grey of the outside would be just enough for my eyes to adjust naturally. It was a softer, less jarring and sudden way to ease into the day. I’ve discovered the less lighting in the morning, the better able to see the sunrise outside through the windows. It may sound silly, but this simple process lets the brain wake up with the morning and everything comes alive at the same time.
Of course the kids are oblivious to any and all of my machinations.
But I will say this … Lucy and I were texting during the last few weeks of her semester when she was studying for exams. It was early, because I was out walking and she was awake. She sent me a text asking for the specific name of the music that I would play in the morning. The first name I sent her was George Winston. The second was Jim Brickman. I told her to choose the albums (specifically with Jim Brickman) that were solo piano. Within minutes, Lucy had texted me back saying how she was experiencing a wave of nostalgia and how she felt calmer and more at home despite not being at home. During her childhood, this music had simply become a backdrop, an underlying feeling rather than an actual occurrence. I realized at that moment that I had gifted my children something very important. I had given her a way to change her situation and calm down the stresses of every day simply by making some very specific choices. Environment, whether it be a calm, cool, quiet morning before school or work, or a clean, sweet-smelling house with soft music when they get home from their busy day can make all the difference. I work very hard to create this in my house. My house of cards, but hey … its all smoke and mirrors anyway, right?
Now, everyone is gone, Lizzie is spending the night out and Bennett and Mary are still in bed. I am sitting quietly, contemplating life with no truck (it is at the repair shop getting “trip-worthy”) and all the laundry I have to do today. But Wind Chimes by Greg Maroney is tinkling on the iHome and the outside light has changed to green, reflections of the trees. I can practically see the humidity with the lush, flushed out foliage.
It’s going to be a great day.